I know what you’re thinking. It’s something along the lines of “Why would I want to stress myself out more right about now? And is that even possible?” I get it. Perhaps this list is not for you. But I actually find great comfort in watching fictional characters struggle through seriously precarious situations because, you know, I’m not them and It could be worse. If that type of (admittedly weird) logic strikes a cord with you, here are 8 movies guaranteed to put you on edge, which might then make your return to our current surreal situation a little easier.
1917 – New to the Box and On Demand, this Best Picture nominee follows two WWI soldiers on their harrowing journey across enemy territory to deliver a message that could prevent a massacre. It’ll test how long you can hold your breath!
Good Time – Not for the faint of heart, this dizzying crime thriller follows a bank robber (Robert Pattinson) as he sprints around New York attempting to get bail money for his mentally disabled brother.
Run Lola Run – Watching this amazing 1998 thriller is the first time I remember being seriously stressed out by a movie. Lola (Franka Potente) has just 20 minutes to raise the money needed to save her boyfriend’s life. The movie shows three different ways things could play out for her.
Source Code – Jake Gyllenhaal plays an Army pilot who — through a top-secret government simulation program — is able to relive the last 8 minutes of a deceased train passenger’s life before a bomb goes off. The mission is to figure out who the bomber is in order to prevent a second attack that hasn’t happened yet. Watching Jake face certain doom again and again is as tense as it gets.
127 Hours – … OK maybe I lied. Watching someone (James Franco, playing Aron Ralston) cut off his own arm in an attempt to get out of desert canyon where he’s been trapped by a boulder is as tense as it gets. I still can’t believe this is a true story!
Prisoners – Gyllenhaal makes the list again. Here he stars as a detective in a race against time to figure out who kidnapped two girls. Hugh Jackman plays the father of one of the missing children, and he goes to extreme, disturbing lengths to find the perpetrator on his own.
Argo – In this Best Picture winning historical thriller, Ben Affleck — who also directed — stars as CIA operative Tony Mendez, who attempted to rescue 6 Americans from Iran under the guise of filming a sci-fi movie. Yes, really.
Whiplash – In all of the other movies on this list, characters are in mortal danger. That’s not the case in this story about a jazz-drumming student (Miles Teller) and his messed-up relationship with his abusive instructor (J.K. Simmons), but it doesn’t make it any less intense. In fact, Simmons won an Oscar for just how stress-inducing his character was!
Can you think of any other movies that totally stressed you out?